A reader commenting on Nicholas Kristof's New York Times column today, which grades President Obama's first term, distilled the zeitgeist nicely: "I am very proud of our President. I will add my voice in agreement to the thousands who shouted 'Yes' at the convention when asked if they are better off today than they were on January 19, 2009. Only those who are brain-dead, memory disabled, or decided to hate the President before he even took the oath of office would answer no to that question."
I get that we are supposed to parse that "better off" meme and define it as the individual miserable parts not counting as much as the glorious sum -- but how do you suppose this new campaign talking point feels to those who've lost their homes, their health insurance, their health, their jobs? Why more people aren't expressing how insulted they feel is beyond me. I guess I must be really behind the times, not getting with the new make-believe program of happy days are here again.
And Bill Clinton is getting rave reviews for his speech, mainly because he is better at explaining things than Barack Obama, and he is not totally addicted to a teleprompter. He actually praised the failed "Grand Bargain" of trillions of dollars of cuts balanced by a few paltry increases in revenue, called for a reanimation of the Catfood Commission of austerity, bragged about his heartless Welfare to Work program, and insisted there is such a thing as "structural" unemployment (lots of good jobs, too few qualified people.) And the crowd roared. But I guess the cult of centrism is better than total annihilation by Romney and Ryan. Your choice is between a slow death by a thousand cuts and a quick rub-out.
And while you're picking your poison, or just being a spoilsport by refusing to choose between the two evilisms, let me just share a heartwarming email I received yesterday from Michelle Obama. She got rave reviews for feeling our pain, but suggests that we need to suffer a little more for The Cause. Instead of helping a friend in need or otherwise indulging ourselves, we should send more cash her way.
I know your life is full -- with work, or school, or family -- and yet you still find the time to help out when you can.
You may have a tight budget, but you give what you can afford.
A woman recently told the campaign her family skipped a pizza dinner at their favorite place so that they could make a difference in this election.
That is the commitment that drives this campaign..
If you can support Barack with a donation today, please know it makes a huge difference. If we win, it will be because of what you did at moments like this.
And if they lose, I guess it will be all my selfish fault for not forcing my kid to give up pizza night for
But back to death. Obama has finally been confronted about his "Kill List" by a renegade local reporter. The president dissembles in his usual glib newspeak fashion, simultaneously refusing to confirm that he kills people and bragging that he kills people. Watch the clip here.
Need further antidotes to the political propaganda? Glenn Greenwald, Michael Wolff, Matt Stoller, and Glen Ford are just what the doctor ordered.
Meanwhile, please feel free to vent with all the contrarianism you can muster.